In case you missed the big news … Matt Nagy is out as head coach of the Chicago Bears, and Ryan Pace is out as general manager, too. And it’s officially-official according to the Bears.
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 10, 2022
• In a game that embodied a season and an era, it’s only fitting that David Montgomery was essentially all of us watching at home:
Montgomery had to go sit on the bench for a few minutes to cool off. Rest of the offense was standing along the sideline. He's holding his helmet on the sideline now with the offense on the field.
— Sean Hammond (@sean_hammond) January 9, 2022
• Again, the Bears were leading that game 14-3 at halftime and ran the ball just nine (!) times after intermission. Montgomery has been the team’s most consistent offensive contributor over the last two years. It’s a shame the play-caller didn’t realize it. Or care to realize it. Either way, that is one of the reasons Chicago is shuffling the deck.
• On the occasions in which the Bears turned it over on downs, they (1) lost 15 yards on a sack, (2) lost 5 yards on a sack, (3) lost 15 yards on a sack (this time on 4th-and-goal from the (4), gained 13 yards on 4th-and-19 on a route ran well short of the sticks.
• And yet, despite his failures, Nagy still came through as an unexpected source of optimism one day before his departure:
Matt Nagy's parting thoughts "There’s a really good franchise quarterback that’s here that’s going to be here for a long time & both Ryan and I were a part of that." #Bears
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) January 9, 2022
You can sense Matt Nagy understands what's about to come, acknowledging, "I've never been in this position before."
But he also spoke highly of Justin Fields' future and the overall optimism he has for the #Bears: "There's a very bright future for our team."
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) January 9, 2022
• Hey! The same can be said for Andy Dalton:
#Bears QB Andy Dalton on Justin Fields' future: "He’s got a lot of talent. He can do a lot of really good things. There’s a big step taken from your first year to your second year, and I definitely think he’ll take it."
— Sean Hammond (@sean_hammond) January 9, 2022
• STOP! Nagy wasn’t talking about Dalton … right? Just making sure.
• Dalton took a beating on Sunday. The Vikings sacked him 7 times and came up with 10 quarterback hits. Now, tack on the 3 sacks and 7 QB Hits Justin Fields took in the earlier-season matchup. It adds up to 10 sacks and 17 quarterback hits over the course of eight quarters of football in two games. That’s a long way of explaining that this offensive line needs work.
• Despite speaking glowingly of Fields’ future, Dalton sounded disappointed in not getting a full season being QB1 with this bunch:
#Bears Andy Dalton:
"A big part of this is what could have been. I got injured and things happened. I came here to be the starter and it didn't work out that way."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) January 9, 2022
• Then again, had Dalton took knees after three quarters, it would’ve been better for his numbers — especially when comparing them to what he put up in the game’s final frame.
• The numbers for Mike Glennon, Andy Dalton, and Nick Foles, the three high-profile veteran QB additions Ryan Pace brought in to steady the ship: 468-for-723 (64.7%), 4,450 yards, 23 touchdowns, 22 interceptions in 22 games (19 starts). That comes out to a 79.6 passer rating. YUCK! And that is an easy way to become a former GM.
• Here are some Bears players who made this season more interesting than it should have been for reasons you wouldn’t have thought existed coming into this year. Damiere Byrd, Nick Foles, Trevis Gipson, Jimmy Graham, Thomas Graham Jr., Darnell Mooney, Jason Peters, Robert Quinn, Roquan Smith.
• How can you not root for Mooney?
Darnell Mooney has the 18th 1,000-yard receiving season in Bears history.
He’s the first Bears draft pick to do it since Alshon Jeffery (2014).
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) January 9, 2022
Darnell Mooney: "I think what really killed us this year was the redzone. I feel like we're not really good in the redzone. We just didn't score. I don't call the plays or anything like that." #Bears
— Usayd Koshul (@usaydkoshul) January 9, 2022
• Honesty is the best policy. And anyone who is good as self-assessment is worth their weight in gold.
• Mooney sure knows how to show out in the season finale. In 2020, Mooney came up with 11 catches and 93 yards in Week 17 against the Packers. And in Sunday’s game, Mooney put up a 12-catch, 126-yard receiving game. Good to know that he and Justin Fields are already planning some offseason get-togethers:
Darnell Mooney said he and Justin Fields are going to begin their offseason work tomorrow. He said of surpassing 1,000 yards receiving this season: “I definitely have a lot more to show.”
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) January 9, 2022
• The only thing that could make a season-ending stinker worse would be some less-than-satisfactory news away from the team. And of course, that is exactly what came across our timelines after that Bears game. No matter how you look about the Bears-Akiem Hicks situation, I hate that it came out when it did and was involving a fan favorite who put a lot of work in for this franchise and has been essentially begging to stay.
• Hicks, who was arguably Ryan Pace’s best free-agent signing, was probably deserving of a better finish. Both in terms of playing for a better team, but also beyond that. It still eats at me that Hicks wasn’t a captain for what will likely be his final game with the Bears.
• At least we’ll have that MNF performance. And that time he channeled the Fridge. Oh, and that time he came through with a bunch of hard truths about Colin Kaepernick, Mike Glennon, censorship, a fear of being fired, and so much more.
The #Bears finish the season with a RZ percentage of 47.9% which will be bottom 3-4.
Here is where they finished in previous years:
2020: 22nd (56.14%)
2019: 24th (52.7%)
2018: 11th (63.1%)
2017: 6th (60.6%)
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) January 9, 2022
• I want to do a deeper dive at some point this offseason, but Cairo Santos has been a breath of fresh air. Since rejoining the Bears in 2020, Santos has gone 57-for-63. That includes his slimetastic kick in last year’s playoff game. Checking my math, and that comes out to a 90.47% success rate on field goals. To put that in perspective, Robbie Gould never had a two year-run with the Bears like Santos is experiencing. Let the good times roll!
• Don’t get it twisted. I imagine everyone wants to disassociate themselves with the 2021 Bears. And if we could gaslight it out of existence,, I’d entertain the thought. But Chris Tabor probably isn’t one of those people. The Bears’ special teams coordinator has seen his unit improve in several areas each year. Even after a slow start to 2021, that group put together an overall solid body of work.
• In that vein, it’s nice to see Dazz Newsome average 11.8 yards per punt returns against the Vikings. Newsome should have the inside track to a job as a return ace next summer.
• A fun way to visualize the Bears’ 2022 opponents:
ALL NFL TEAMS' 2022 OPPONENTS
Each team plays against teams in the same row, in the same column, with the same color, or that have the same shape. pic.twitter.com/v3ue1Mhz2g
— Lee Sharpe (@LeeSharpeNFL) January 10, 2022
• Even after leaving this season on a sour note, road trips to Atlanta and Dallas later this year seems like something Bears fans would be into experiencing. Although, I doubt anyone is looking forward to another January noon kickoff in Minnesota. Especially if it looked anything like yesterday’s game.
• The Lions must’ve been thinking that only thing cooler than securing the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft was this pair of trick plays:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 9, 2022
• This is what the top-15 of the draft order looks like:
Top 15 2022 #NFLDraft order:
7. NYG (via CHI)
10. NYJ (via SEA)
15. PHI (via MIA)
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) January 10, 2022
• So much for Week 18 not being a place where a rookie QB could learn a thing or two about a thing or two:
#Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence closed out his rookie campaign with a massive victory over the must-win Colts. Here’s our post-game chat on the win, the roller coaster season, and his vision of the future in #DUUUVAL nation @nflnetwork!
“That’s the team that we wanna be…”🗣⬇️🏈 pic.twitter.com/b76L3NX3MS
— StaceyDales (@StaceyDales) January 9, 2022
Trevor Lawrence was playing spoiler vs the Colts 🐆 pic.twitter.com/LGPRiCOAss
— PFF (@PFF) January 9, 2022
• My friend is starting a new podcast, and I think you’ll like it:
— Cat Garcia 🐈⬛ (@TheBaseballGirl) January 10, 2022